• Professional development
  • Managing resources

The role of homework

Homework seems to be an accepted part of teachers’ and students’ routines, but there is little mention of it in ELT literature.

teaching method homework

The role of homework is hardly mentioned in the majority of general ELT texts or training courses, suggesting that there is little question as to its value even if the resulting workload is time-consuming. However, there is clearly room for discussion of homework policies and practices particularly now that technology has made so many more resources available to learners outside the classroom.

Reasons for homework

  • Attitudes to homework
  • Effective homework
  • Types of homework
  • Homework is expected by students, teachers, parents and institutions.
  • Homework reinforces and helps learners to retain information taught in the classroom as well as increasing their general understanding of the language.
  • Homework develops study habits and independent learning. It also encourages learners to acquire resources such as dictionaries and grammar reference books. Research shows that homework also benefits factual knowledge, self-discipline, attitudes to learning and problem-solving skills.
  • Homework offers opportunities for extensive activities in the receptive skills which there may not be time for in the classroom. It may also be an integral part of ongoing learning such as project work and the use of a graded reader.
  • Homework provides continuity between lessons. It may be used to consolidate classwork, but also for preparation for the next lesson.
  • Homework may be used to shift repetitive, mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom.
  • Homework bridges the gap between school and home. Students, teachers and parents can monitor progress. The institution can involve parents in the learning process.
  • Homework can be a useful assessment tool, as part of continual or portfolio assessment.

Attitudes to homework Teachers tend to have mixed feelings about homework. While recognising the advantages, they observe negative attitudes and poor performance from students. Marking and giving useful feedback on homework can take up a large proportion of a teacher’s time, often after school hours.

  • Students themselves complain that the homework they are given is boring or pointless, referring to homework tasks that consist of studying for tests, doing workbook exercises, finishing incomplete classwork, memorising lists of vocabulary and writing compositions. Where this is actually the case, the negative effects of homework can be observed, typified by loss of interest and a view of homework as a form of punishment.
  • Other negative effects of poorly managed homework include lack of necessary leisure time and an increased differential between high and low achievers. These problems are often the cause of avoidance techniques such as completing homework tasks in class, collaborating and copying or simply not doing the required tasks. In turn, conflict may arise between learners, teachers, parents and the institution.

Effective homework In order for homework to be effective, certain principles should be observed.

  • Students should see the usefulness of homework. Teachers should explain the purpose both of homework in general and of individual tasks.
  • Tasks should be relevant, interesting and varied.
  • Good classroom practice also applies to homework. Tasks should be manageable but achievable.
  • Different tasks may be assigned to different ability groups. Individual learning styles should be taken into account.
  • Homework should be manageable in terms of time as well as level of difficulty. Teachers should remember that students are often given homework in other subjects and that there is a need for coordination to avoid overload. A homework diary, kept by the learner but checked by teachers and parents is a useful tool in this respect.
  • Homework is rarely co-ordinated within the curriculum as a whole, but should at least be incorporated into an overall scheme of work and be considered in lesson planning.
  • Homework tends to focus on a written product. There is no reason why this should be the case, other than that there is visible evidence that the task has been done.
  • Learner involvement and motivation may be increased by encouraging students to contribute ideas for homework and possibly design their own tasks. The teacher also needs to know how much time the students have, what facilities they have at home, and what their preferences are. A simple questionnaire will provide this data.
  • While homework should consolidate classwork, it should not replicate it. Home is the outside world and tasks which are nearer to real-life use of language are appropriate.
  • If homework is set, it must be assessed in some way, and feedback given. While marking by the teacher is sometimes necessary, peer and self-assessment can encourage learner independence as well as reducing the teacher’s workload. Motivating students to do homework is an ongoing process, and encouragement may be given by commenting and asking questions either verbally or in written form in order to demonstrate interest on the teacher’s part, particularly in the case of self-study and project work.

Types of homework There are a number of categories of useful and practicable homework tasks.

  • Workbook-based tasks Most published course materials include a workbook or practice book, mainly including consolidation exercises, short reading texts and an answer key. Most workbooks claim to be suitable for both class and self-study use, but are better used at home in order to achieve a separation of what is done in class and at home. Mechanical practice is thus shifted out of class hours, while this kind of exercise is particularly suited to peer- or self-checking and correction.
  • Preparation tasks Rarely do teachers ask learners to read through the next unit of a coursebook, though there are advantages in involving students in the lesson plan and having them know what is coming. More motivating, however, is asking students to find and bring materials such as photographs and pictures, magazine articles and realia which are relevant to the next topic, particularly where personalisation or relevance to the local context requires adaptation of course materials.
  • Extensive tasks Much can be gained from the use of graded readers, which now often have accompanying audio material, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts and songs. Sometimes tasks need to be set as guidance, but learners also need to be encouraged to read, listen and watch for pleasure. What is important is that learners share their experiences in class. Extensive reading and listening may be accompanied by dictionary work and a thematic or personalised vocabulary notebook, whereby learners can collect language which they feel is useful.
  • Guided discovery tasks Whereas classroom teaching often involves eliciting language patterns and rules from learners, there is also the option of asking learners to notice language and make deductions for themselves at home. This leads to the sharing of knowledge and even peer teaching in the classroom.
  • Real-world tasks These involve seeing, hearing and putting language to use in realistic contexts. Reading magazines, watching TV, going to the cinema and listening to songs are obvious examples, offering the option of writing summaries and reviews as follow-up activities. Technology facilitates chat and friendship networks, while even in monolingual environments, walking down a shopping street noticing shop and brand names will reveal a lot of language. As with extensive tasks, it is important for learners to share their experiences, and perhaps to collect them in a formal or informal portfolio.
  • Project work It is a good idea to have a class or individual projects running over a period of time. Projects may be based on topics from a coursebook, the locality, interests and hobbies or selected individually. Project work needs to be guided in terms of where to find resources and monitored regularly, the outcome being a substantial piece of work at the end of a course or term of which the learner can claim ownership.

Conclusion Finally, a word about the Internet. The Web appears to offer a wealth of opportunity for self-study. Certainly reference resources make project work easier and more enjoyable, but cutting and pasting can also be seen as an easy option, requiring little originality or understanding. Conferring over homework tasks by email can be positive or negative, though chatting with an English-speaking friend is to be encouraged, as is searching for visual materials. Both teachers and learners are guilty of trawling the Net for practice exercises, some of which are untried, untested and dubious in terms of quality. Learners need guidance, and a starting point is to provide a short list of reliable sites such as the British Council's  LearnEnglish  and the BBC's Learning English  which provide a huge variety of exercises and activities as well as links to other reliable sources. Further reading Cooper, H. Synthesis of Research on Homework . Educational Leadership 47/3, 1989 North, S. and Pillay, H. Homework: re-examining the routin e. ELT Journal 56/2, April 2002 Painter, L. Homework . English Teaching Professional, Issue 10, 1999 Painter, L. Homework . OUP Resource Books for Teachers, 2003

First published in October 2007

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your…

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your method of the role of the homework . Well, I am one of those laggard people. Unfortunately, when it comes to homework, I definitely do it. Because, a student or pupil who understands new topics, of course, does his homework to know how much he understands the new topic. I also completely agree with all of Steve Darn's points above. However, sometimes teachers give a lot of riff-raff homework, just like homework is a human obligation. This is a plus. But in my opinion, first of all, it is necessary to divide the time properly, and then to do many tasks at home. Only then will you become an "excellent student" in the eyes of the teacher. Although we live in the age of technology, there are still some people who do not know how to send homework via email. Some foreign teachers ask to send tasks by email. Constant email updates require time and, in rare cases, a fee. My above points have been the cause of constant discussions.

  • Log in or register to post comments

exam and certificate

Setting homework, busy work or homework, setting homework.

I could not agree more!

Homeworks are an excellent way to revise and learn.

However, students are not likely to accept homeworks. That is why, as you claimed, the homeworks need to be useful, to have purpose.

I like your idea of ,, Real-world tasks,, since they definitely involve their background knowledge and such a type of homework is interesting and contemporary!

I totally agree. I am one of those teachers who give a lot of homework, and sometimes pupils don't like it. But homework help a lot. I mostly prefer project works, especially to upper levels.

I want to learn more about upper English specially law and business English all terms and words that we can use when we are making business.

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Ideas and resources for Teachers | Teacher Blog

Homework: An Effective Approach

By OneStopTeacherShop

I have always hated homework.  Seriously, it was the word-that-shall-not-be-named, as far as I was concerned.  As a kid, I hated that I spent all day in school just to go home and continue the madness.  Once my daughter started school, I hated forcing it on my her and repeating “do your homework”.  After becoming a teacher, my hate grew even more…homework was such a task each day to give out, keep track of, assign and grade.  I remember writing homework assignments on the board that included various workbook pages and reading assignments from different textbooks.  I mean, seriously, why would any teacher expect a child to do all that work after working all day.  We don’t go home from work each day wanting to do more work….am I right?

teaching method homework

So, why have homework at all , you might be wondering?!  Well, believe it or not, homework can actually be a positive and important tool in a child’s education, if done correctly.  That’s right…I flipped the script.  You see, I used to hate homework, but now I feel the complete opposite.

teaching method homework

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teaching method homework

A few important things about giving effective homework.

  • This is so true when it comes to homework.  More is not better….it’s just MORE.  If a child is exhausted and hates what they are doing, what are you really accomplishing?
  • When I send home homework, not only are my students getting a few minutes to put their knowledge to the test, but their parents now have the opportunity to see how their child is doing, and what they are learning in class and expected to know.  It’s a win, win, win.
  • When I see a student struggling with a skill from their homework, I know I have some reteaching to do.  Class time is so limited and already stretched to the max, so I don’t have as much time as I would like to see if each and every student understands what I’ve taught each day.  Homework is the perfect way to see if a student “gets it”, and it didn’t take any class time.
  • Because I use a mostly-review style homework (I’ll get into that in a bit), students who didn’t get to master a skill in class while it was being taught, will be given the opportunity to continue to practice that same skill on their nightly homework.  In my experience, I have seen my students’ self-confidence boost!  They may not master the skill on the first, second, or third night, but eventually, they do.  Homework gives them the opportunity to keep practicing and feel success at their own pace.

Here is a quick reference guide of “Do’s and Don’ts.

teaching method homework

The Homework Solution

Years ago, I created a homework system for my students that would do all of the above and more. Simple…Thoughtful…Effective.  That’s what I was going for.  I wrote about 6-8 problems per night.  I made sure most of them reviewed the topics I had already FULLY covered in class, while also including at least one question on the topic we were currently learning.  My philosophy here is I didn’t want my students to spend time incorrectly practicing something they haven’t fully learned.  When students practice a skill incorrectly, more time is required to reteach and break the bad habit.  This is very different from traditional homework which typically drills the skill learned that day with little review.  With this traditional way, students and parents are likely to become frustrated, and as a result, the homework loses its effectiveness.

teaching method homework

More Benefits of This Homework …

1. Students retain skills longer due to its repetitive nature. 2. Daily practice helps students sharpen their skills. 3. Students are more likely to do their work because it really doesn’t take that long. 4. Parents like the predictability. 5. Parents can see exactly what their child needs to know. 6. Builds students’ self-esteem because they are more likely to be successful. 7. SAVE Paper! 8. Easy to differentiate (editable) so that I can change-up the difficulty of questions as needed.

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Great teaching techniques: Homework

  • Research Summary

teaching method homework

  • Curriculum |
  • Developing effective learners |
  • Enrichment |
  • Promoting good progress |
  • Research Engagement |
  • Self-directed learning

Homework can be a powerful means of supporting student learning and study habits, provided it is designed appropriately.

What does it mean?

Studies into the effectiveness of homework are very mixed. Typically, as Hattie’s (2008) research shows, it makes a much bigger impact for older, higher-attaining students in secondary, rather than primary, settings. This is because they are more likely to understand the task, persevere if the work is difficult and avoid reinforcing negative attitudes or misconceptions when studying without teacher guidance.

Homework that is typically higher impact tends to be highly structured and focused on practising using knowledge and skills that have been secured already. More open-ended, high challenge tasks are typically less successful, especially with less confident learners or those with no support outside school.

What are the implications for teachers?

Instead of talking about homework being either effective or not, teachers should consider which forms of homework are most likely to support learning for their students at any given point. The diet of homework over time might include:

  • Learning tasks : Use clear knowledge sources to support retrieval practice, teaching the various techniques in advance. Spelling and vocabulary are classic examples.
  • Practice tasks : Repeating procedures that have been covered extensively in class – i.e. where students are practising for fluency – are effective homework tasks. Maths questions fall into this category.
  • Occasional structured research tasks : This is where students seek answers to specific questions. Time between lessons can be used to find things out or read ahead. Be sure to keep this structured – open-ended research can be overwhelming or result in blind copying; structured questions allow students to focus their research in a productive manner.
  • Occasional redrafting tasks : If feedback has been given during lessons homework time could be used to re-do task to a higher standard.

Top tip: Establish an appropriate diet of homework that is sustainable for students and teachers with a few special extended pieces amongst more routine practice. Don’t equate more homework with more marking: design homework that can largely be self-checked by the students.

Want to know more?

  • Hattie J (2008) Visible Learning . London: Taylor and Francis
  • Sherrington T (2012) What does the Hattie research actually say? Available at: https://teacherhead.com/2012/10/21/homework-what-does-the-hattie-research-actually-say/ (accessed 31 May 2019).

Homework compact guide download

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Enhancing Learning: Effective Teaching and Homework Methods

As educators and parents, our primary goal is to help children develop a love for learning while ensuring they gain valuable knowledge and skills. To achieve this, it’s essential to adopt effective teaching and homework methods that cater to different learning styles and promote active engagement.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some strategies to enhance the learning experience for students both inside and outside the classroom.

1. Active Learning in the Classroom:

Passive learning, where students sit passively and listen to lectures, is not always the most effective way to retain information. Active learning, on the other hand, encourages students to participate actively in the learning process. Teachers can incorporate various techniques such as group discussions, debates, hands-on activities, and problem-solving exercises to foster active engagement. By involving students in the learning process, they become more invested in their education and are more likely to grasp and retain the material.

2. Differentiated Instruction:

Every child is unique, with their own strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Implementing differentiated instruction acknowledges these differences and tailors teaching methods to meet individual needs. Teachers can use a variety of teaching techniques, materials, and resources to cater to different learning styles and levels of understanding. This approach ensures that every student has the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential.

3. Integrating Technology:

Incorporating technology into the classroom can significantly enhance the learning experience. Interactive educational apps, online quizzes, and multimedia presentations can make learning more engaging and dynamic. Technology also provides opportunities for self-paced learning, allowing students to progress at their own speed and explore topics of interest further. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between technology use and traditional teaching methods to ensure a well-rounded learning experience.

4. Flipped Classroom Model:

The flipped classroom model is an innovative approach where traditional homework and classwork are reversed. Students learn new concepts at home through video lectures or online materials and then apply and reinforce that knowledge during classroom activities. This method promotes active learning during class time, where students can seek clarification, engage in discussions, and work on collaborative projects. Flipped classrooms foster a deeper understanding of the subject matter and encourage critical thinking.

5. Purposeful Homework:

Homework should serve a purpose in reinforcing and extending what students have learned in class. Assigning relevant and achievable tasks allows students to practice and apply their knowledge independently. It’s essential to strike a balance between the amount of homework given and the age and developmental level of the students. High-quality homework can help develop responsibility, time management skills, and self-discipline, but excessive or busywork-type assignments can lead to disengagement and stress.

6. Timely and Constructive Feedback:

Providing timely and constructive feedback is crucial for student growth and improvement. Teachers should promptly assess assignments and exams, offering specific feedback that highlights strengths and areas for improvement. Positive reinforcement encourages students to continue making efforts, while constructive criticism guides them in refining their skills. Additionally, feedback should be given in a supportive and encouraging manner, fostering a growth mindset and promoting a desire for continuous learning.

7. Encourage Collaboration:

Encouraging collaboration among students fosters teamwork and enhances social skills. Group projects, discussions, and peer learning activities allow students to learn from one another, build communication skills, and appreciate different perspectives. Collaboration also nurtures a sense of community in the classroom, where students feel valued and supported.

Conclusion:

By incorporating these effective teaching and homework methods, educators can create an engaging and inclusive learning environment that caters to diverse learning styles. Active learning, differentiated instruction, technology integration, the flipped classroom model, purposeful homework, timely feedback, and collaboration all play a significant role in enhancing the educational experience for students. As we continue to explore innovative approaches, we empower the next generation of learners to thrive academically and personally.

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Research Article Special Issue Child Development Research

To what extent do teachers use school homework, as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools?

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Department of Early Childhood Studies, Kenyatta University,Kenya

Correspondence: Catherine Gakii Murungi, Department of Early Childhood Studies, Kenyatta University, PO-43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Received: July 12, 2018 | Published: December 31, 2018

Citation: Wanyora KL, Murungi CG, Waithaka EN. To what extent do teachers use school homework, as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools? Int J Pregn & Chi Birth . 2018;4(6):262-267. DOI: 10.15406/ipcb.2018.04.00137

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Pre- primary school children need positive early learning experiences to help their intellectual, social and emotional development. This lays the foundation for later school success. As a learning strategy, pre-primary school teachers give school homework to help children practice what they learn in class. Despite many studies carried out on benefits of school homework in primary and secondary school levels, researchers claim that school homework is not beneficial to pre-primary school children. This is because they are already tired after being in school the whole day and they need time to relax and play. The study was carried out in Ruiru Division, Kiambu County. The design of the study was descriptive research design. This paper explores homework as a method of teaching. The study population was pre-primary school teachers in Ruiru Division. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample of 45 pre-primary schools from which 153 teachers were selected for the study. The data was collected through questionnaires which were administered to the teachers. A pilot study was conducted in one public and one private school which were not included in the sample. The data was then analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods where the information obtained was organized into themes and concepts using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Teachers believed that homework prompts improved academic performance. The study recommended that teachers should ensure they adhere to ECDE guidelines for appropriate teaching-learning methods. It was also recommended that school administrators should collaborate with District Center for Early Childhood Education (DICECE) to sensitize teachers on the impact on use of school homework as a teaching-learning method.

Keywords: school homework, research literature, pre-primary school, information, homework, assignments, grades, learner’s opportunity, skill, respondents, qualitative methods, quantitative methods

Introduction

The recent review of school homework research literature conducted by Cameron & Bartel 1 claims that most researchers adopt the definition offered by Cooper 2 because it is clear and concise. Cooper 2 has defined school homework assignments as tasks set by teachers for learners to complete outside normal lessons usually at home in the evenings. Common school homework assignments may include reading, writing to be completed, problems to be solved or other skills to be practiced. Learners may complete school homework alone, with other learners or with their parents and other family members. According to Murungi and Muthee 3 some school homework is designed to give learners opportunity to practice skills taught in class, promote good working habits and a sense of responsibility. Petall, Cooper & Wynn 4 argue that school homework is beneficial to some group of learners though it primarily benefits learners in the higher grades than those in elementary levels. This study sought to establish the factors that influence teachers to give school homework to pre-primary school children.

Use of school homework as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools

The following section discussed the impact on use of school homework as a method of teaching-learning in Pre-primary schools. Though the pros and cons of school homework have been debated for many years, school homework continues to be given to learners often because of a longstanding assumption that it is beneficial to them. 5 Most of the arguments are based on the fact that school homework is good for learners because it teaches them to be responsible and that it develops a strong work ethic. It is said when learners have a lot of school homework, it is a sign of rigorous curriculum and a good teacher. 6 Most parents, learners and teachers have strong opinions about the usefulness of school homework which has led to significance conflict and debate. In recent years, this conflict has intensified as elementary school learners have increasingly been assigned school homework (Loveless, 2003). 7 Moreover the current research does not support these increasing school homework demands on young children. Most studies of school homework show either a negative impact or no impact on achievement of elementary school learners. This has led to a number of authors to strongly advocate severe reduction or elimination of school homework especially to younger children. 8‒10

Researcher has established that school homework has positive effects on learning particularly at the middle and secondary school levels. 11 , 12 Effectiveness of school homework is enhanced by providing learners with choices among school work tasks, which will result in higher motivational and performance outcomes, learners’ autonomy and intrinsic motivation. 4 Kralovec and Buell 13 have commented that many educators and parents continue to support the use of school homework because they believe it will lead to academic achievement they further argue that there is no real evidence to support this position since many school homework researchers admit that the academic achievement of elementary learners does not improve as a result of doing school work at home. Kralovec and Buell 13 thus suggest that doing school homework can actually be detrimental if it requires learners to complete activities that they are not developmentally prepared to do.

In his study, Cooper 14 stressed that all young children should be doing school homework but the amount and type should vary according to their developmental level and home circumstances. School homework for pre-primary school children should be short leading to success without much struggle for children to enjoy. Age appropriate pre-primary school homework ideas they include applying colour to pictures, writing their names several times or listing items that start with a specific letter. The findings of these studies show that there is pre-primary school homework involving suitable activities in the Western World. The current study was to investigate on the use of school homework as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools in Ruiru Division, Kiambu County. 14

The study adopted descriptive research design. Descriptive research design is a method of collecting information by interviewing or administering questionnaires to a sample of individuals. 15 This design was found appropriate since the study involved collecting information through answering questions that were descriptive in nature concerning impact on use of school homework as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools. The study was conducted in Ruiru Division, Kiambu County. The division was purposely selected for the study because it is a densely populated area with many pre-primary school age children from a diversity of ethnic cultures. Purposive sampling was also used to select Ruiru Division because it borders Nairobi County resulting to teachers using school homework as a teaching-learning method due to high competition of Standard One intake. Ruiru Division is an industrialized area with many public and mushrooming private pre-primary schools. The division comprises Ruiru Zone with no other educational zones. The study targeted a population of 509 pre-primary school teachers in Ruiru Division, Kiambu County. This comprised of 60 teachers from public pre-primary schools and 449 from private pre-primary schools.

Sampling techniques

Ruiru Division was purposely selected and stratified random sampling was used to select the schools where the study was conducted. The criterion used for stratification was type of school. The sampling frame was drawn from a list of all pre-primary schools in the division found at Ruiru District Centre for Early Childhood Education (DICECE) office. The schools were categorized into two strata namely public and private pre-primary schools. Stratified random sampling was appropriate in this case because the sample was selected in such a way as to ensure that the groups were represented in the sample in proportion to their number in the population. 15

Sample size

Simple random sampling was used to select a representative sample of 9 public pre-primary schools and 36 private pre-primary schools representing 30% of the total population of the pre-primary schools in Ruiru Division. The researcher selected 30% of pre-primary school teachers from both private and public schools. According to Orodho 15 30% of the total population is a number within the acceptable representative sample. A total of 153 teachers were sampled out of which 18 of the teachers were from the public pre-primary schools while the remaining 135 teachers were from private pre-primary schools.

Data analysis

The data obtained from the respondents was recorded in readiness for analysis. The research involved qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative data obtained from open-ended questions was analyzed by coding and organizing into themes and concepts. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for data analysis. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution and percentages. The analyzed data was presented in form of frequency tables, bar graphs and pie charts.

Logistical and ethical consideration

The researcher obtained an introductory letter from Kenyatta University and used the letter to get research permit from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The permit was then taken to the District Education Office Ruiru, then to the school administrators. The researcher familiarized herself with the respondents and sought consent from them to voluntarily assist in filling the questionnaire. The researcher thereafter informed them the purpose of the study. Respondents were assured that the information they would give was to be treated with confidentiality.

Findings (general information)

Teachers’ Demographic Information

The demographic information required from the respondents included age, gender, professional qualifications, teaching experience and type of teacher training. This information is presented in the following sub-sections:-

Type of school

Schools were categorized as either public or private with the number of teachers involved in the study as presented in Figure 1 . Majority (84%) of the pre-primary school teachers who were involved in this study were from private schools while the rest were from public schools in Ruiru Division, Kiambu County ( Figure 1 ).

teaching method homework

Gender of the respondents

The researcher sought to establish the gender of the respondents and the responses are highlighted in Figure 2 . Of all the respondents involved in the study, 85% of them were females while the rest of their counterparts were males ( Figure 2 ).

teaching method homework

Age of the respondents

The age of respondents was as depicted in Figure 3 . Figure 3 shows that half of the respondents were aged between 31-40 years, followed by those aged between 21-30 years, while below a quarter of the respondents were 41 years and above. The findings indicate that majority of the respondents were between 31-40 years of age ( Figure 3 ).

teaching method homework

Pre-primary school teachers and use of school homework in teaching-learning

The focused on use of school homework in relation to the following dimensions:-

  • Assigning of school homework to children in class

The study sought to establish the extent to which teachers use school homework as method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools. The results were as presented in Figure 4 . A vast majority of teachers (114) said that they assigned school homework to children in their classes with only (5) of them saying that they did not assign any. The results suggest that most teachers used school homework as a method of teaching-learning in pre-primary schools. The study findings confirm results of a study done by Loveless 7 who found that elementary school learners have increasingly been assigned school homework. Vatterott 6 carried out a study on school homework and found that when learners have a lot of school homework, it is a sign of rigorous curriculum and a good teacher. The study by Kralovec and Buell 13 also indicated that many educators and parents continued to support the use of school homework because they believe it leads to academic achievement. Out of 114 pre-primary school teachers who reported that they assigned school homework to children in their classes, 105 teachers said that they assigned school homework to children every day while 9 of them said that they did not assign homework on daily basis ( Figure 4 ).

teaching method homework

  • Reasons for not assigning school homework

The five percent of the respondents who never assigned homework to children were asked to state the reasons why they failed to assign school homework. Their responses were as presented in Table 1 . The results in Table 1 , results reveal that 5% of the respondents gave reasons why they did not assign school homework with 2% indicating that children should choose what to do while the rest gave out reasons as presented in table 4. The findings of this study showed that not all teachers assigned school homework. This is consistent with the findings of Patall, Cooper and Wynn 4 who claimed that effectiveness of school homework is enhanced by providing learners with choices among school homework tasks. They stressed that this would result in higher motivational and performance outcomes, learners’ autonomy and in intrinsic motivation. Contrary to this stance, Bennett and Kalish 8 in their research in United States argued that homework had little value and was actually harmful for children under the age of five years ( Table 1 ).

Table 1 Number of pre-primary schools and teachers sampled

Table 2 shows different school homework activities assigned to children in both public and private pre-primary schools. From the table, it is evident that pre-primary school children were assigned various school homework activities by their teachers as a method of teaching-learning. The findings given indicate that 24% of the teachers assigned homework focused on number work and language activities. There were some teachers (21%) who assigned work from what was taught during the day. Eight of the respondents assigned homework comprising modeling, writing of numbers and alphabetical letters. Seven pre-school teachers assigned homework in language activities alone. Four teachers assigned reading, number work, Kiswahili, shading and coloring activities. The findings indicate that Science experiments combined with filling in of blank spaces were only assigned by three respondents. The current study findings show that the least assigned activities were combination of coloring pictures, sound recognition and writing through tracing by two respondents as well as the activity of answering written questions or exercises from textbooks. It was therefore revealed that most teachers failed to distribute homework activities in all subjects learnt. The study findings clearly imply that the most common school homework activities assigned by the respondents were related to number work and English language activities. These findings agree with the findings by Cooper 14 who did a study on school homework and indicated that age appropriate pre-primary school homework ideas include applying colour to pictures, writing their names several times or listing items that start with a specific letter ( Table 2 ).

Table 2 Reasons why pre-primary school teachers did not assign school homework to children in their classes

  • Duration for homework completion

The respondents were asked to state time that they gave pre-primary school children to complete the given homework. The responses were as presented in Table 3 . It was observed that majority of the pre-primary school teachers (61%) gave school homework that would not exceed between 10-15 minutes, while 28% gave school homework which was expected to be completed in more than 15 minutes. The study findings are consistent with findings of a study conducted by Cooper 16 who reported that all daily homework assignments combined should take about 10 minutes multiplied by the grade level of the learner. He also added that when reading is included as a type of homework the 10 minutes might be increased to 15 minutes ( Table 3 ).

Table 3 Homework activities assigned to children

  • Completion of the assigned homework by all the children

The study sought to establish whether children completed given assignments or not. The responses were as presented in Figure 5 . Almost three quarters of the respondents reported that not all children completed the assigned school homework with slightly more than a quarter of them saying that all their children completed the assigned school homework. The findings show that most children did not complete given homework ( Figure 5 ).

teaching method homework

  • Issues on completion of homework

The teachers were asked to name possible factors that affect completion of homework assigned. Table 4 presents the findings. Some (43) respondents claimed that some parents did not assist their children with homework while 6 respondents indicated that, due to age factor their children used to forget what they were taught. Other respondents gave different factors that affect homework completion. The study findings indicate that not all pre-primary school children were able to complete given school homework ( Table 4 ).

Table 4 Duration given to children to complete assigned school homework

Table 5 Factors that affect completion of homework assigned

The study findings established that school homework was used as a teaching-learning method by majority of the respondents in both public and private pre-schools. However, there were a few respondents who reported that they did not assign school homework to children due to various reasons which they indicated in their responses. There were some respondents who indicated that children should be given a chance of choosing what to do while others claimed that children relax after school. The study findings also revealed that there were different school homework activities assigned to children in both public and private pre-primary schools. Majority of the respondents assigned activities related to number work and English language while applying colour to pictures was among the least assigned activities. When children were assigned with school homework, majority of the respondents expected them to complete it between ten and fifteen minutes. However, there were some children who did not complete their homework assignments especially those who were not assisted by their parents.

Most teachers from both public and private pre-primary schools were using school homework as a method of teaching-learning. The few teachers who did not assign homework had a view that children did not need extra school work at home. It was found that not all teachers were trained on use of school homework and therefore not all assigned homework to children. It was evident that some of the subjects taught in pre-primary schools were ignored since children were rarely given homework relating to all of them. It was concluded that there were various factors that affected completion of homework assigned to children including that some parents never assisted their children when doing homework.

Recommendations

  • For parents

The findings revealed that most parents demanded for daily school homework for their children. There is need for parents to be sensitized by the school administrators on ECDE teaching guidelines required for pre-primary school children. They should also be advised that use of school homework is not the only option for academic progress for their children.

  • For private school managers and public school head teachers

It was established in this study that most school administrators appreciated school homework. They should therefore collaborate with District Centre for Early Childhood Education (DICECE) to organize sensitization workshops for them and their teachers on the impact on use of school homework as a teaching-learning method. School administrators should also ensure regular monitoring of teaching-learning methods is done in the appropriate manner as prescribed by ECDE guidelines.

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest.

Author declares that there is no conflict of interests.

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©2018 Wanyora, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, Creative Commons Attribution License ,--> which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.

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